PrEP can be a reliable prevention tool for cisgender women at high risk of HIV. To improve uptake among women who could benefit, providers must make PrEP available and accessible.
This guide was created for healthcare providers to supplement current Canadian PrEP guidelines on prescribing PrEP to cisgender women. It provides tips on how to talk to cisgender women about PrEP.
The OHTN would like to thank the PrEP for Women Advisory Committee for their help in developing this resource: Amy Nhkum, Dr. Darrell Tan, Denese Frans-Joseph, Dr. Kevin Woodward, Lydia Collins, Molly Bannerman, Dr. Muna Al-khaifi, Dr. Patrick O’Byrne and Yasamin Sadeghi.
Why PrEP for Cisgender Women?
PrEP is an approved, safe and effective way to prevent HIV infection among people at high risk of exposure. Between 2016 and 2021, PrEP usage increased among both men and women in Ontario, however uptake of PrEP remains relatively low among cisgender women compared to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM): cisgender women account for about 3% of people on PrEP in Ontario even though they made up about 20% (97) of first-time diagnoses in 2021. Although most cisgender women are not at high enough risk of acquiring HIV to need PrEP, this form of HIV prevention may be underused by cisgender women who could benefit – due in part to low awareness of PrEP for women among both providers and patients.
Not a healthcare provider, or want more information about PrEP?
OntarioPrEP.ca has resources for patients, clinicians, and those already taking PrEP who want to know more, including information on drug coverage and paying for PrEP.